Release Date: 1975
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Softcover, 627 pages
The queen of gospel and a symbol of integrity, Mahalia Jackson was the embodiment of an era. Accurate, well-researched, and rich with the music, faith, people, and events that sparked the spirit of the time, Just Mahalia, Baby is a fast-paced and engaging biography. From the poverty of her New Orleans childhood, where she sang in church and was exposed to the rhythms of ragtime jazz, through troubled times and triumphs, and on to Chicago, wealth, and worldwide acclaim, her biographer Laurraine Goreau chronicles Mahalia’s storied life and career.
Mahalia went to receptions for presidents, sang at a freedom rally to set the mood before Martin Luther King spoke, toured the world, and remained a dedicated fighter for black people’s rights. Generous and warm-hearted, she won the respect and admiration of those who knew her, whether personally or through her music.
Downbeat magazine named her one of the top four jazz vocalists along with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan, yet she remained undaunted by fame. “Don’t make me no saint, baby!” she told Laurraine Goreau. “Tell the real story of me.”